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The relationship between chatbots and AI and MOD case study, how “virtual life coach” is forming part of the MOD’s people research
David Burden, CEO, Daden Limited

David will start by clarifying the relationship between chatbots and AI before talking about the work that Daden is currently undertaking on developing and trialling a “virtual life coach” as part of the Ministry of Defence’s Defence People research call launched earlier this year. The intent is it to develop a conversational AI/chatbot which can help users with the everyday frictions of life, whilst also supporting informal learning and career development and helping to grow and maintain mental and physical fitness, health and well-being. Such a system does not replace human staff or contact, but supports employees when human support is not available, helps to sign-post them to the right human support (and curated web resources) and allows human staff to spend their time on the interventions that most need the human touch. David will conclude by putting the virtual life coach into the wider context of how conversational AI can potentially help maintain the long-term corporate knowledge base, and consider some of the challenging ethical and moral issues that may result.

David has been involved in AI, virtual reality and immersive environments since the 1990s. He set up Daden in 2004 to help organisations explore and exploit the social and commercial potential of chatbots, AI and virtual environments. David has led collaborative research projects funded by InnovateUK and the MOD, and Daden has run two successful “covert Turing Test” studies – one with a 100% pass rate. David has authored over a dozen papers on virtual worlds and AI, and is currently writing a book on virtual humans.